10 Jun 2018

Football Ferns unable to reward record crowd

6:52 pm on 10 June 2018

The New Zealand women's football team have been beaten 3-1 by Japan in their international friendly in Wellington.

The Football Ferns do battle with Japan in Wellington.

The Football Ferns do battle with Japan in Wellington. Photo: Photosport

Despite the result, the match on Sunday did attract a record crowd of 7236 for women's football in New Zealand.

All four goals in the game came in the first half, with striker Mina Tanaka scoring a hat-trick for the visitors and Meikayla Moore netting for the Football Ferns.

Japan domainted large parts of the contest, with the home side mostly content to sit back with players behind the ball.

It took the visitors just 17 minutes to break the defensive wall of the Ferns, Tanaka's deflected shot looping up over the outstretched hand of helpless Kiwi goalkeeper Erin Nayler.

Moore levelled the scores when she poked the ball home when it fell loose from a corner just a minute later, but two more goals to Japan before halftime gave them a comfortable buffer.

Tanaka put her team back in front in the 34th minute with a lovely touch and deft flick over Nayler, while the striker's third came on the stroke of halftime when she headed home a well-placed cross from the right.

The match was the first for the Football Ferns in New Zealand for three years and their first in Wellington since 1991.